Recently, I’ve been totally captivated by the blues. Not low vibe depressing blues – rather bright, fun, SUMMER’S HERE kind of blues! I’m sure that was inspired by the lovely sleeping beauty turquoise I recently got in. It’s so very enchanting to me. Serene and uplifting all at once. It leaves me wanting to feel the sand between my toes, the sun at my back, the sunglasses on my face and a cold Pensacola Bushwacker in my hand. Let’s just say I was inspired and wanted to share the results of my inspiration.
I really adore this first piece. It’s one of my favorites to date. Another piece from my ‘Peace of the Beach’ line with real sand from the Florida Gulf Coast (collected from my children’s sand castle toys after our last beach adventure) fired into the sand dunes. The fine silver cloisonné jewel came out perfect (if I do say so myself) and the hand-forged chain includes the most incredible dreamy blue sleeping beauty turquoise ever! I am in love with this shade of blue. It’s a perfect compliment to the beryl blue waters in the cloisonné jewel.
Peace of the Beach
You may remember my Blue Fish Jewel from a few months back. I finally decided to transform him from jewel to jewelry. I’m hooked on that sleeping beauty turquoise. Have I mentioned that? First the jewel before it was set.
Of course, I had to make some earrings and rings with it too.
One that I REALLY loved that went very quickly was my Mermaid’s Dance. I also made this jewel several months back and waited for the proper inspiration to strike to set it. I just didn’t have the vision back then, but it recently came to me and I love the way it turned out. Big shout out to Doretha of Dr. Meow Jewelry for loving it as much as I did and snapping it up before I decided to keep it for myself! I am always complimented when a talented jeweler collects one of my pieces – and Doretha is a VERY talented jeweler! So here’s the jewel before it was set:
And here’s the jewel after it was set. I didn’t get a picture of the chain she was on, but it’s the same style of hand-forged chain as above, only with small freshwater pearls in place of the turquoise shown in the other pictures. I love how it turned out, don’t you?
Thanks for stopping by for this edition of Delia’s Show and Tell. 🙂 Remember you can find my work in my Etsy shop here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/deliasstones?ref=l2-shopheader-name
After many requests I will be offering my first Cloisonné Workshop this coming Sunday, April 27th at Danish Princess Beads and Jewelry in Milton, Fl. In this long awaited workshop you will learn the basics of cloisonné construction. We will cover many skills in this workshop including, doming a metal disk, enameling on both concave and convex surfaces to prepare the substrate (or metal base), forming a design with fine silver ribbons, adhering the fine silver design wires to the substrate, ‘painting’ with colored enamel, torch firing, grinding and finishing your cloisonné jewel. Most cloisonné is done using a kiln, but the cost of kilns can be cost prohibitive for some while torch firing can be achieved with an inexpensive hand held torch available locally.
Cloisonné is an involved process, taking several hours to make a jewel. It takes repeated ‘painting’ and firing to build the jewel but the results are very rewarding. You will be able to create your own cabochons with creative designs to use in your own settings creating beautiful customized pieces of jewelry. Please note that this class does not cover settings for your pieces. It is focused on the creation of the jewels. The class is $125 and runs from noon to 5:00. Tools and materials are not included. Please contact Patty at Danish Princess at (850) 490-0310 for details on the tools and materials required for the course.
Keep in mind, if you’d love to use some handmade cloisonné in your own work but aren’t up to learning the process, you can purchase handmade jewels by yours truly in my Etsy shop. Drop in and check some of my offerings!
It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of my recent cloisonné work. As a matter of fact it’s been a while since I’ve made any. I received a custom order for a special piece from a fellow artist a while back. As consuming as cloisonné work can be, once I go into the cycle I try to create several jewels, usually in the same color scheme (with a little variation here and there). Monika wanted one of my beach scenes to remember her beloved beaches here on the Emerald Coast to take back with her to New Jersey. The beaches are so incredibly beautiful and healing here that it takes little effort to settle into a feeling of absolute peace as you sit upon the white quartz sand being caressed by the breeze and listening to the gulf waters lick the shoreline. Miami boasts the most beautiful beaches in the world – but we actually have them here in the Panhandle. I have direct experience with both and there is absolutely no comparison. That why even though we are a sleepy little town, we are a huge vacation destination for those ‘in the know.’
With Monika’s custom order I finally had a good excuse to carve out some time to create more cloisonné. Knowing that this piece had meaning for Monika I decided to offer to fire some actual beach sand into the sand dunes, to add a piece of the beach to her peace of the beach. I had successfully done this a while back, inspired by the remnants of beach sand left on my children’s beach toys in the corner of the garage. Monika loved the idea of course and ‘Monika’s Peace of the Beach’ was born.
While working on her cloisonné, I created a few others which I’d like to share. Some have been set, but most are unset as of yet. I shared most of these on facebook recently but there are a few that were not shown there at the time. All of the beach scenes have white quartz sand from the Gulf Coast fired into the dunes. Not just any sand mind you, but sand infused with the joy of children playing by the shore. No extra charge for the good vibes. 😉 Take notice that I have begun signing my cloisonné jewels where possible. Clever me! :::flutters eyelashes:::
I also wanted to create another ring with the ‘Peace of the Beach’ theme with the sand fired into the dunes for the ring lovers. This one was just set as I couldn’t stand to wait another moment to see it done. I love it. I made the ring band adjustable so it can fit from size 7 to size 8 1/2.
One thing that doesn’t seem to show up as beautifully as it is when the piece is in hand are the shimmering waves in the waters. This shot provides a pretty good view of the shimmering waves but still doesn’t capture the full effect. They shimmer like an opal when the jewel moves. Excuse the glare on the jewel. It really is quite tricky to photograph anything glass.
I love them all, what do you think?
P.S. Remember my 50% off sale is still going on in my etsy store for all tutorials until Friday. Use code Happy2014 at checkout for the discount. 😉
Have I mentioned to you yet that I am TOTALLY addicted to enamels? Oh my have I been having fun! My journey to addiction began when I tried my hand at some simple sifted enamel pendants. I thoroughly enjoyed experimenting with sgrafitto in enamels early on. If that wasn’t fun enough I then discovered Barbara Lewis’ immersion method of torch firing beads and other jewelry components. It helped me to re-familiarize myself with the torch (it’s been a while since I did any serious work with a torch) and gain confidence in my enameling capabilities. I loved watching the enamel fuse to the bead in the flame and playing in all the wonderful color. I find this new art form to be very soothing to the spirit. Therapeutic if you will, though dangerously addictive. After a long period of torch firing beads and emboldened by my success I decided to dip my toe into the world of cloisonné … and I’ve decided I’m never coming back.
After playing around with some 20 gauge round wire to make my first pieces I finally invested in some proper fine silver cloisonné wire, and what a world of difference it has made. I can hardly believe how quickly I’m going through the stuff… I already feel panic setting into my heart as I realized I have less than a foot left today. I’ll have to wait a week to get more. I can’t imagine how I’ll cope when I run out. Did I mention that this art form is like the crack of the jewelry arts? Oh yeah … I’m sick. 🙂
After admiring several pieces of Japanese themed pieces from other artists online I found myself inspired to attempt to make a Karp, or Koi in a pond with a lily pad. I started it yesterday about 5:00 and was a woman possessed, working until 1:00 a.m. to finish it. I had to be up at the crack of dawn, and through I tried to convince myself that getting sleep was the wiser course of action it was impossible to get my mind off of the little carp painting that was coming to life before my eyes.
In the first phase I prepared my copper base by fusing a couple of layers of counter enamel to the back and a base of white to the front. Once the base was prepared I drew my design out to scale in my notebook then I cut and shaped the cloisonné wire to form every detail of my carp and little lily pad. I use a product called Blu-Stick to glue the wires in place as I am setting them. It looks like blue elmers glue and is about the same consistency but it burns off clean in the firing process. You can see some traces of it in the picture. I had not yet fired the wires into place.
In the next phase I pick my pallet of colors and begin wet packing them into the cells created by the cloisonné wire. I add enamel to the cells, fire it in the torch to fuse that layer and then wet pack again. This is a process repeated many times, fusing layer upon layer of glass until all of the cells are full. The wet packed enamel is allowed to dry before firing. The dry enamel looks like colorful sand. The coloring is much lighter before the enamel is fired, and then it darkens with beautiful effects.
Here is the wet packed design unfired:
And here is the design after firing when the enamels have darkened:
After several layers are fused and the cells are full the image is ground back with an alundum stone to level the surface and remove excess glass that may be covering the wire design. I was very pleased with my little coy! I then torch fired beads in matching colors to create a necklace to show off my new friend. I absolutely love the colors, the design and everything about my latest piece. I cannot wait to see what my efforts over the next year will yield if I remain steadfast in my enameling experiments. I am enamored with enameling, so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem.
Well, it’s official. I have a new addiction. I can’t stop playing with enamels – and don’t want to. I made another cloisonné piece recently. I call this one Patron of the Arts. It’s a tribute to the art patrons out there whose support makes it possible for artists to live creative lives and continue their work to put beautiful things out into the world. Without the art patron, we would not be able to do what we do. While it’s fun, it also serves as a sort of badge of honor telling the world that the person wearing it is a supporter of the arts. Buy Art!
My latest enameling adventures led me to create these cute little pendants in a copper setting. The setting is made from copper sheet. After the enamel disk is set I sealed the copper so that it would not turn one’s skin when worn. I absolutely ADORE these fun little pendants and will be making many more to come. Please forgive the low quality of pics. My camera seems to have disappeared so these were taken with my camera phone.
Keep an eye out on my blog. I forsee some workshops and possibly even some tutorials in enameling techniques to come! Thanks for following me.
I finally made it to the store to get a new pickle pot so that I could complete my mermaid cloisonné pendant. For the beginning pictures of this project, see the post prior to this one. It shows the white enameled base with the wires initially set. Tonight I got to paint her. Actually it’s more like wet packing sand than painting really. I mix the enamels with water and use a paintbrush, toothpick, or piece of wire to fill the cells of the design. After it’s all set I laid a paper towel over it and allowed it to wick water from the enamel. Afterwards it looks like a bunch of colored sand set into the cells of the wire design.
Next I used a dry paintbrush to brush away and loose enamel and prepare it for torching. The more glass you add to a piece the longer it takes to fire it. I was so excited when my mermaid finally made it to the torch – it seemed to take forever for the glass to fuse. Of course that’s probably because I was holding my breath and counting every second. At last the metal glowed, the glass flowed and my first firing was complete!
It was a real pain trying to get the wet glass to pack into some of the finer areas; the arms, the fish tail and the tips of the seaweed were real buggers. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get enough glass into the tight spots to get a good fill, but I gave it my best shot as I wet packed it the second time. When I went to repack the tail I accidentally grabbed the wrong green – ACK! I didn’t realize that I’d grabbed the green for the seaweed until it was too late. As I started packing I recognized that the colors weren’t the same, but I decided to just go with it. It looks a little like a shadow on her tail though, so in the end not much damage done. This time I used some of the transparent that I had used on the bubbles to layer over the opaque blue background to try to give it a more watery look. Off to the torch she went!
In the end I am happy with this experiment. I am learning a lot as I go and I’m sure I’ll make plenty more mistakes in the learning process, but for now I say ‘Not bad for an amateur.’ I’ve got many other pendants planned and I can’t wait to get to them! Stay tuned. 😉
Some of you already know that I have a new addiction. I have become enamored with enamels! 🙂 I shared some of my first enameled pieces in a blog post previously. That post shows some simple sifted pieces along with my first experiments in sgrafitto. Since then I have discovered the immersion technique made popular by Barbara Lewis. I’ve made lots of beads using her technique. It’s a fun, simple and no fuss technique that you can achieve instantly satisfying results with. Here are a few pictures of my foray into enameling beads using her technique:
I had a lot of fun with the beads but I eventually ran out. Not a problem! I just moved on to other experiments – in cloisonné. I first started with a mermaid, but I was using what I had on hand to play with. I had seen others use round copper wire in cloisonné with success so I broke some out and began designing. I originally intended to make the Minoan Snake Goddess, but my Muse refused me and insisted on a mermaid instead. Here is my mermaid design all planned out. In this pic, I have counter enameled and added two coats of opaque white on the front.
Originally I wanted to use transparents on this piece, but later decided to go with opaques at least for the most part as I became worried that the oxides in the copper would make my transparents muddy. You can see how the oxides dirty the copper when fired in this picture:
These oxides can be cleaned between firings in pickle. My pickle pot got cracked and I have to get a new one before I can proceed with the mermaid. She has to be cleaned in pickle between firings to prevent the oxides from jumping up onto the surface of the enamel. I don’t want to have come all this way just to ruin her! Having been stopped in my path on the mermaid, my creative lust was unfulfilled. I suddenly remembered that I had some fine silver wire tucked back that I was using on a project a while back so I decided to make another pendant using the fine silver – what a difference it made. The wire stayed bright, beautiful and free of oxides. I should have taken a picture of the second piece at this stage but I didn’t. I was too eager to press forward. So I packed the new design with enamels and hit the torch – SUCCESS! MY first completed cloisonné. This is my ‘Solitude’ figure that you’ve seen repeated in my art cuffs.
The rainbow moonstone has some beautiful blue flash that compliments the blue in the skyline which unfortunately did not come through in the picture. The pretty little purple stones are tanzanite.
I have a thousand designs running around in my head presently that can’t wait to make it to the torch! I’m drawing them in a notebook because I’m afraid I’ll forget about them before I get to them all. Stay tuned for more adventures!